Spin the Bottle
This time, it was Pete who kissed Nick.
Nick was used to being kissed by his friends; his female friends tended to randomly ambush him with affection ("I can't help it, look at you!" they'd say. He looked. He didn't get it), and a fair number of his guy friends - well, more than he suspected was usual - tended to view him as a Get Out Of Queer Free card, or something. He needed more than one hand to count how many times he'd been at a party, and ended up on the couch with a friend slouching against him, followed by a blurrily curious gaze and a murmured "hey," right before lips met his. He didn't mind. Kissing was nice, boys were nice, girls were nice. Nick liked nice things. Nick even liked things that were not nice, like Tyson.
Patrick was nice. He'd been there on the sidelines when Pete and Tyson stopped flirting outrageously with each other and starting making out against walls, and he'd kept Nick company on AAR's bus when Tyson came to the door of Fall Out Boy's bus holding up his unzipped jeans and offering a cheerful, "Come back later!" They'd talked about Motown and touring and high-maintenance frontmen, and clinked glasses of soda together in a toast to being alone on the road, and Patrick had smiled a little half-smile at him, and Nick thought, now, and they leaned in and bumped noses and Patrick laughed and so did Nick. Patrick was a good guy, and a good kisser.
They'd gone out after the Chicago show with a bunch of scenekid old friends, and at the bowling alley Andy had dragged him off, saying, "You're cool, right? It's just, these girls are into it, they say they will if we will," and Nick had looked at the girls, giggling and blonde the both of them, and said, "They'll what?" Andy kissed him, and he meant it, too; Nick had never kissed someone with a pierced tongue before, and he thought maybe he should do it again. "That was so hot," one of the girls said. Nick looked at Andy, and agreed.
Mike had been one of the couch conquests, as Nick referred to them in his head (never out loud, because oh man, the laughter that would ensue at the thought of him conquering anything); it was late, the party was winding down, and Mike's girlfriend had just broken up with him. "You're so nice," Mike said into Nick's shoulder. Nick patted his knee. Comments about his niceness were usually followed by someone either dumping him or kissing him. Mike's lips pressed against his neck, then upwards; Nick leaned his head back against the couch and squeezed Mike's knee and kissed him back.
Maybe word got around, because Pete was starting to give him these little speculative looks, like he was trying to figure out an equation or something, like Nick was something that needed to be solved. It didn't last long, because Pete had a tendency to just do things, so Nick wasn't too surprised when Pete came up and said to him, "So you've kissed like half my band."
"You've kissed one quarter of mine," Nick pointed out.
"That's cool, right? You're not like, jealous."
"Are you?" Nick asked.
Pete frowned. "Come on with us tonight. Play bass for me for the last song."
Nick nodded. "Sure."
So he came out and played, and the crowd screamed and Pete prowled around and Nick roamed the stage until he came up in front of Pete. It happened quickly; Pete leaned in and smiled at him and said, "Hey, my turn," and his lips on Nick's were dry and a little rough, his hands warm on Nick's face. Three quarters now, Nick thought, and also, nice.
"I'm not gonna make out with you," Joe said after the show. "I'm just letting you know."
"He's a good kisser," Andy said. Nick smiled at him.
"I'm going to go call my girlfriend," Joe said loudly, and stomped off.
"Seriously," Andy said. "Almost all of us now. How'd you do that? I thought you and Tyson were a thing."
"No," Nick said. "Not really."
Andy shrugged. "You wanna do it again, you let me know."
Nick thought it might be okay to tour with Fall Out Boy for the rest of his life.
The bus door banged open, and Tyson leaned in, glaring at Andy. "Can I have Nick back, please?"
"Can we make a trade?" Andy asked.
Tyson waved him off. "I don't know where Pete is. Off blowing Patrick in the dressing room, probably."
Huh. Really. That explained a lot, actually. Tyson reached for him, taking hold of Nick's wrist and dragging him out. "Hey, what?" Nick said, kind of annoyed now. The bus door slammed shut behind him, and Tyson didn't let go of his wrist. "Tyson, seriously."
"Seriously, you've slept with all of Fall Out Boy now. Please don't tell me Hawthorne Heights is next on your list."
"Not Joe," Nick said. "And not slept with. And not Hawthorne Heights, god." Not that they weren't okay guys, but. No. "What's your problem? You slept with Pete. And I thought you guys were done, you shouldn't care about him kissing me."
"Well," Tyson said. "Maybe I care about you kissing him."
"It's just kissing," Nick said, failing to see the problem. "What are you so mad about?"
Tyson stared at him, then pushed Nick back against the bus.
Right before Tyson's lips touched his, Nick got it.